Category: Industry and Employment

That’s the way the money goes. What price the homeless, the sick,the old and our children.


According to reports, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer Foxconn has replaced around 60,000 human factory workers with machines. Or, as a government publicist for the city of Kunshan told the South China Morning Post, the factory “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs.”

Although Foxconn confirmed to the BBC that it was working to automate much of its manufacturing operations, the company denied that the new robotic assembly line would mean fewer jobs for humans. Instead, the company says it is simply using the machines to “replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees” while allowing those employees to focus on more valuable parts of the manufacturing process like R&D and quality control. “We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations,” Foxconn told the BBC, “and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”

Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post also reports that 35 Taiwanese companies including Foxconn have spent a total of 4 billion yuan (or about $609 million USD) on artificial intelligence last year. Many of those companies employ tens of thousands in Kunshan, where two-thirds of the 2.5 million people are migrant workers. According to a government survey, 600 companies in Kunshan plan to follow Foxconn’s lead.

In 2012, a report from the Fair Labor Association showed that working conditions in Foxconn’s manufacturing facilities — where most of Apple’s products are made — were way below legal standards. Both Apple and Foxconn agreed to pitch in and improve the conditions for their human workers


Source: Foxconn replaces 60,000 human workers with robots

Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside a council meeting where a decision on whether to approve fracking for the first time in England since a ban was lifted in 2012 is expected.

The hearing is considering plans by Third Energy to frack for shale gas at its existing site near Kirby Misperton.

Over 100 people are due to address the council meeting in Northallerton.

Third Energy said it had been producing gas “safely and discreetly” for over 20 years and had a “responsible approach”.

‘Most controversial application’

North Yorkshire county councillors were greeted by placard-waving protesters as they arrived for the planning committee meeting at County Hall.

Source: North Yorkshire fracking meeting draws protesters – BBC News

Today the manufacturer faces new demands that these vehicles are taken off the road.

The company has announced a second recall affecting the same cars.

  • Vauxhall told ITV News there have been 266 Zafira B fires
  • 234,938 cars are affected by the recalls
  • So far around 144,000 have had repairs designed to make them safe

But Vauxhall admits 14 Zafiras caught fire even after that modification.

Now all will be recalled a second time and fitted with three redesigned components

Source: Vauxhall faces demands to take Zafira B cars off the road over fire risk – ITV News

Under pressure from U.S. regulators, Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp (7312.T) is expected to announce as early as Wednesday that it is recalling 35 million to 40 million additional inflators in U.S. vehicles, three sources briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

The expanded recall will be phased in over several years and more than double what is already the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history. The new recall will cover all frontal air bag inflators without a drying agent, sources briefed on the matter said.

To date, 14 automakers, led by Honda Motor Co (7267.T), have recalled 24 million U.S. vehicles with 28.8 million inflators due to the risk that they can explode with too much force and spray metal shards inside vehicles.

In recent days, officials from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Takata they need to expand the recall based on the government’s determination of the root cause of the problems, sources briefed on the matter said.

NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas declined to confirm the expanded recall. “NHTSA has reviewed the findings of three separate investigations into the Takata air bag ruptures. The recall of Takata air bag inflators… continues and the agency will take all appropriate actions to make sure air bags in Americans’ vehicles are safe.”

The new recall is expected to include about 35 million passenger-side air bags and some driver-side air bags without a drying agent. It is also expected to include some air bags that were previously replaced that did not have a drying agent.

Takata spokesman Jared Levy declined to confirm the expansion, but said the company is “working with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions to these important safety issues.”

Source: Takata to announce recall of 35 million-40 million U.S. air bag inflators: sources | Reuters

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